While it’s obvious that spokespeople for political parties have a job to do — namely to defend their politicians at all costs — they are also usually better served by grounding their comments in at least some small measure of reality. On this count, state GOP chair Claude Pope swung and missed today with his almost comically off-base broadsides against Rev. William Barber and tomorrow’s Moral March on Raleigh.
As someone who has had the privilege of knowing Barber and working with him frequently in recent years, I can assure Pope and anyone else who cares that he and and the movement he leads are anything but “partisan,” “left-wing,” or “radical.”
First off, as Pope seems to have conveniently forgotten, the HK on J movement was birthed during a period in which Democrats controlled all the main arms of state government. In those days, the protests were directed against the Democrats in power. And Pope can rest assured that were the Democrats to somehow regain power in the state, the movement would continue. Indeed, I’ve personally watched Barber chase off politicians who’ve tried to use events in which he was involved for partisan purposes.
This brings us to point #2, which is that the agenda advanced by the HK on J/Moral March movement is actually quite mainstream. If Pope would just check it out and consider it honestly in its historical context — something he’s likely never done — he’d discover that many of the ideas have long been supported by leaders of both parties and huge majorities of average Americans. Heck, go back a few years, and many of these ideas (things like health care for all, environmental justice and affordable housing) were supported (and even launched) by conservatives.
The bottom line: The HK on J/Moral March movement is about many things, but mostly it’s about mainstream, American values that are supported by large majorities of average folks — especially people of low and moderate income who have watched in dismay as their government has been hijacked by corporate plutocrats. Moreover, its leaders are more than happy (thrilled, even) to work with politicians of any party who are willing to sit down and discuss genuine societal progress.